01/18/2014 7:59PM

Santa Anita: Shakin It Up heads Baffert 1-2 in Strub Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Shakin It Up, with Mike Smith riding, wins the Strub Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths.

ARCADIA, Calif. – A multiple stakes winner as a 3-year-old sprinter in 2013, Shakin It Up may be best this year at a mile – or beyond.

Winning for the first time around two turns, Shakin It Up had an ideal trip under jockey Mike Smith to win Saturday’s $200,750 Strub Stakes for 4-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita. In his only previous start around two turns, Shakin It Up was a well-beaten fourth in the Sunland Park Derby over 1 1/8 miles in New Mexico last March.

The Strub was the second consecutive stakes win for Shakin It Up, the surprise winner at 17-1 in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds over seven furlongs Dec. 26.

Smith rode Shakin It Up for the first time in the Grade 2 Strub and said the colt left him confident throughout the race.

“The big question was the distance,” Smith said. “He did it once and didn’t do so well. He handled a mile and a sixteenth and can probably do a mile and an eighth. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.”

Shakin It Up ($8.20) was timed in 1:41.86. Govenor Charlie, who won the 2013 Sunland Park Derby, finished second.  The first two finishers are trained by Bob Baffert and co-owned by Mike Pegram. Pegram shares ownership in Shakin It Up with Dennis Cardoza. Pegram co-owns Govenor Charlie with Karl Watson and Paul Weitman.

Smith had Shakin It Up in third in the field of eight for the first six furlongs, chasing a pace of 23.98 and 47.06 seconds set by the 8-1 shot Heir of Storm. Govenor Charlie was second early and raced alongside Heir of Storm on the turn. Smith moved Shakin It Up closer to Heir of Storm at the end of the backstretch, hoping to stay in front of Hear the Ghost, the 7-5 favorite trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.

“I was so happy with the way he broke,” Smith said. “In this type of race, there can be so-so speed. You can leave it too late. I was able to get a good position. I didn’t want Hollendorfer’s horse to get momentum.”

Shakin It Up led by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining and won by 2 1/4 lengths over Govenor Charlie. Hear the Ghost, who was fourth on the backstretch, finished third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Govenor Charlie.

Zeewat finished fourth, followed by Dice Flavor, Heir of Storm, Say Ow, and Rookie Sensation.

This was the first running of the Strub Stakes over 1 1/16 miles. The race had been run in recent years over 1 1/8 miles.

Shakin It Up has won 4 of 7 starts and earned $487,600. He has three stakes wins, all at Santa Anita. Last February, Shakin It Up won his stakes debut in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes over seven furlongs for 3-year-olds.